Most family offices still follow the very discreet “gold plaque-type” approach to displaying their outward appearance to the world. Even the tech billionaires base their family offices in nondescript buildings with little or no outward branding, despite the often swanky corporate HQs.
But some, admittedly a very small group, like to show a more confident brand to the outside world. Usually, that’s because the family office is housed in the same building as their foundations/philanthropic group, which is easier to outwardly portray to the world. Here are three that prefer a more open approach and at least one that’s created an architectural and interior design masterpiece.
Kirk Kapital – the family office of Lego heiress Gunhild Kirk Johansen and her family
Probably the most architecturally significant of all family office headquarters, Kick Kapital is based in the so-called Fjordenhus in the Danish city of Vejle, which no one outside of Denmark has heard of but is where Gunhild lives. Designed by one of the world’s most acclaimed artists, and sometimes architects Olafur Eliasson, Fjordenhus certainly makes a statement. Family Capital has written about it in an early post.
Judith Neilson Family Office
Neilson was married to “Australia’s Warren Buffett”, asset manager Kerr Neilson until they divorced in 2015. She’s a billionaire and an avid art collector, particularly known for her collection of modern Chinese art. She set up a family office in 2017 in a former glass factory in the inner Sydney suburb of Chippendale. Neilson obviously brought her love of art and design ascetic to the family office by the amazing look of the interior in the lead photo.
Hillspire – the family office of Eric and Wendy Schmidt
One tech billionaire who doesn’t seem to be too bothered by having a more outward image for his family office is the former CEO and chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt – or at least in theory. He and his wife Wendy commissioned a new, ultra-green building in Menlo Park, California in 2016 to house their family office Hillspire and the various philanthropic groups owned by the family. Here’s a link to some images of it. But it’s not clear if all these groups have moved into the new building, because Hillspire looks to be based in another office in Menlo Park and the Schmidt Family Foundation and Schmidt Ocean Institute are still based in a pretty nondescript building in Bryant Street, Palo Alto.